The psychology of padel, or any sport for that matter, is a complicated subject. In this article we give 5 tips to help you with the mental side of the game.
Work WITH your partner
Padel is always played in doubles format, so it makes sense that the top of this list is to maintain good synergy with your partner. There are always going to be days where one player might be a little off (whether it is tiredness, personal life, injury etc.) so as a pair you need to recognize this and work together to build a positive team approach. Sometimes it requires one player to motivate the other and sometimes it needs both players to reflect at the change of ends and decide a new positive drive is needed. This can be particularly important in a certain situation, eg. A break of serve or after just losing the set…
There is a lot of research out there suggest visualization can almost be as good as training. It is always a good idea to visualize yourself playing a successful, well executed shot (as opposed to mistakes) and this can be done at the end of the day, when you’ve woken up or even while you are waiting to play. Visualization comes with practice and even if you find it difficult at first, the quiet positive reflection of your game can only be a benefit for when you are on court.
Patience – During a Point & the Match
Most players considering the mental side of the game have already considered the tactics, so by now you would know that padel is based around shot selection and not taking unnecessary risks. So when you consider being patient in the point, that means waiting for your opportunity to strike, maybe playing one or two more extra shots until you have the perfect opportunity. But patience should also be a focus during a difficult game. Everyone has played matches where your opponents go through a phase of not missing or winning a string of lucky points. As quickly as this can happen it can go, so if you are patient and wait for that opportunity (rather than getting negative about it) you will be able to make the most of it when the time comes.
Do Not Show Your Frustration
Padel can be infuriating sometimes, after having worked so hard to setup a point and then to miss it, but that is just padel (and sport in general). Showing your frustration has a few issues; it is a waste of energy, it can negatively affect your partner and can give your opponents a boost. It is one of the best things to see when your opponents get angry on court, because you know mentally they are flustered and it will likely lead to more mistakes. Even if you are really annoyed, it is a good strategy to make it look like you are not phased.
Never give up
Padel points (and games) can be won and lost very quickly, so even if you feel like you are down in a match it can be turned around in no time at all. If your opponents are mentally erratic, you could win a few points in a row and suddenly the momentum is with you. Advice for competing in any sport is to give 100% right until the very end!